Claire and I hosted Becky Burton (Claire’s best friend; the two of them worked together for a year in Mexico at an orphanage) on Saturday night. In the days leading up to Becky’s visit, Claire and I enjoyed talking about what we—or more accurately, I—should make. We settled on roasted chicken and roasted potatoes.
We had roasted a chicken before and loved how simple yet completely delicious it was. I found Thomas Keller’s recipe for My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken on Epicurious. The recipe calls for a chicken and salt and pepper. Rinse and dry the chicken really well (the less moisture in the bird, the crispier the skin will be). Truss the chicken, which is not all that difficult. Heavily salt the chicken (Chef Keller calls for one tablespoon). Place the chicken in an oven safe pan and roast it in a preheated 450 degree oven (the roasting time will vary depending on the size of the bird, but one hour works well.) If you want to make gravy, roast the chicken in a pan that will allow you to make the gravy after the chicken is done. It is that easy. The chicken turns out beautifully golden brown; it is moist; and best of all, the skin is absolutely to die for. Another reason why this is such a great dish is because whole chickens are the most economical way to buy a chicken.
For the potatoes, we used Yukon Gold and tossed the diced pieces in olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs. I put them on a rimmed baking sheet and threw them in the lower part of the oven after the chicken had roasted 30 minutes. I will admit: I think this adversely affected my chicken as the skin this time was not nearly as crisp. My bet is that it was the moisture from the potatoes. However, the potatoes browned beautifully and were crisp on the outside while still being light, fluffy and tender on the inside.
The aromas that filled the house were enough to convert a vegetarian in my opinion.
We rounded off the meal by starting with the beautiful tomato salad. We also served sautéed asparagus with the chicken and potatoes. For dessert we had orange-cream sorbet, an amazingly easy dessert that both Claire and I love. As I remarked right before Becky arrived, “Here at the Camp house, we do three course meals.”
However, the best part of the process was not the cooking or the aromas, but rather sharing our table with a dear friend of Claire’s who I hope will become a good friend of mine over the years. Becky was the second house guest of ours (the Costillos being the first), and Claire and I have enjoyed learning how to entertain together as a couple.
As Claire and I talked before the wedding and continue to talk about, we desire to have a home where people feel welcomed and loved. And not just because we fill their bellies with good food, but because hopefully in some small way we welcome them further into the house and family of God.